What if My Mother or Father Dies Before We Resolve our Relationship



resolving with parents before they die
though the road may be hard there is light..


 What if My Mother or Father Dies Before We Resolve our Relationship?

“I used to worry that my mother or father might die before we ever have any kind of understanding or resolution between us. As I grew in understanding about the truth and got to the bottom root of all the dysfunction, I was set free from that fear.” ~ Darlene Ouimet

It is one thing for me to worry that my parents might die, but it is a whole other insulting thing when people ask me how I will FEEL if my parents die and they ask it as a judgement question; a judgement against me. It’s all in the voice infliction; the tone they use and I used to react to that tone in the way that I reacted to it when I was a kid. That tone was meant to snap me back to compliant and ‘respectful’ and it worked on me. My “guilt, shame and self-blame button” was very sensitized.

 People share with me all the time how folks throw the following statement and question at them; “your father/mother is getting old and is in poor health, how are you going to feel if he/she dies?”  My response to this question is; “what does his or her health have to do with the reason that I don’t communicate with my parents?”  My parents had their whole lives to make a positive difference when it came to me. They made their choices, and apparently through the grid of how these type of statements are meant to be taken, my parents choices are acceptable but my choice NOT to put up with abusive and disrespectful disregarding treatment is NOT acceptable? That is insane.  It’s like people are so brainwashed by this whole thing that they don’t even realize how stupid it sounds to be told to accept abuse/neglect/disrespect just because ‘they’ are ‘family’.

I wonder why no one ever asks parents estranged from their kids “how are you going to feel if your son or daughter dies?” Judging by the way my parents act, they won’t feel anything.  

There are laws in place to protect children from some of the things that happened to me. Why are my parents exempt from those laws? Why is it up to me to put their minds at ease as they get closer to their final days on this earth? If I will reap what I sow, why does that saying not apply to them?

When people say “Your mother is getting old; she is sick, what if she dies?” I still fail to see what her health has to do with any of this. That question is a rabbit trail leading nowhere. Do they mean that my mother is old so I should let ‘bygones be bygones’ and forget all about it? What does one have to do with the other? What does the fact that my parents are getting older have to do with any of this? What about ME? What about what happened to me? Why doesn’t that matter? That is what I am addressing now. That is why I don’t see them; because I finally understood that I mattered ~ even if I only mattered to me. I finally mattered enough that I stood up to the way that they treated me and said “no more”.  And they refused to validate that there was ever a problem and they took the stand that the only problem was me, just as they always did. There was no place for my voice but none the less I HAVE a voice; and I have a choice too.

People will say ~”Your parents are getting old, you should give them a break”. Why doesn`t anyone ever ask my parents when they are going to give ME a break?  I understand that my parents are not admitting to anyone the reason WHY I don’t see them, or why I drew a boundary in the first place, so I can understand people not telling my parents that they should make the effort everyone thinks that I should make, but I don’t understand why people stick up for them and try to shame me, when I HAVE legitimate reasons for not seeing them. This sick and dysfunctional family system has its roots in the universal and widely accepted belief that PARENTS have rights that their children DON’T have.

Most of the time people don’t even care to hear the reasons adult children have for not seeing their parents; they just tell these adult children they are wrong. They automatically defend the parents without even hearing or caring about the reason behind the broken relationship. That is offensive.

It is dismissive and discounting. It is even more offensive when the reasons for not seeing parents ARE revealed and people still judge the adult child to be the one in the wrong. That is what this “what if your parents die” question is about. It is about parental rights and entitlement ~ something that YOU as their child don’t have in a dysfunctional family system.  People are so afraid that if they ‘hear you’ and validate your reasons for not having relationship with your parents, or for going no contact, that they might have to think about the dysfunctional relationships they have with their parents or even worse, with their grown kids. So often parents equate regarding their children as equally valuable with giving up their power and control over them. (and If giving up their power and control in favor of embracing equal value is something that they are not willing to consider doing, they insist on going down rabbit holes and changing the subject, always turning it back on the child, rather than giving their child a chance to be heard.)

Why do the controlling and abusive people have all the ‘human rights?’ When am I going to have the right to be treated with respect? What about me? It’s time that we stopped seeing the question “what about me” as selfish and self-centered! Why are these abusive and disrespectful people MORE valid than I am? When am I going to be VALID? And the answer to that question for me was “WHEN I DECIDED THAT I AM”

Something I had to realize and a big part of my healing process was that I am valid and that I have rights too. And I have the right to be treated with love and respect.  If my parents are getting old or if either of them is sick, that doesn’t change the fact that I have rights and it doesn’t change the facts about the way that I was treated by them in the past. They are not sorry. They don’t acknowledge the abuse. They never wanted to change or tried to change. So why is it up to me to be there for them when they were never there for me? (and although I am well aware that they fed and clothed me, they housed me, they took care of my physical needs, SO WHAT?? They decided to have a baby, legally that is the least that they HAVE to do.)  This whole subject is just another great example of the power differential between parents and children and however ‘socially acceptable’ it is, it is still wrong. I have equal value even if I am the only one in the world who sees that truth.

Just because so many people including my family don’t validate my equality, doesn’t mean I am wrong about it or that I don’t in fact have it. I do; we all do.  Each of us, every single human being has equal value.  I am not the one who is wrong for deciding that I was finally going to validate MY equal rights and value.

If my parents die before there is any resolution followed by reconciliation it isn’t because I didn’t try. I tried my whole life.

Please share your thoughts, feelings and fears around this subject of what if my parents die before there is resolution. The most common questions asked in this website and through private email are about the connection between healing and dysfunctional family issues. I answer several of them in the free guide available for download in the top right side bar here.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken book is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here in the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

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This article is linked to related posts, they are highlighted and in bold print.

Other Related posts ~ Emotionally unavailable Father the Message of Passive Abuse

Abusers who blame Victims and the People who support them

563 response to "What if My Mother or Father Dies Before We Resolve our Relationship"

  1. By: Kathy Posted: 29th September

    Bless you for posting this very healing article. So generous of you to be so honest.

  2. By: Jane Posted: 20th November

    Christian, you are not alone. Even though I have been working through my “stuff” for years, I am still back here now. Right before the holidays. It’s tough, and once you see it all clearly you can’t go back. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Use the info on this site. It will help a lot.

  3. By: Christian Posted: 20th November

    Hi everyone.

    Thank you Darlene for the article.

    I am currently not speaking to my parents. My dad ended up in the hospital a week ago so I had some very basic text communication with my mother. I realized through reading articles like this that both my parents are narcissists. I had no idea.. they are such good actors.

    I didn’t have a word to describe them until a few months ago. I asked for space from them about 15 years ago and they turned all of my siblings against me. A few years ago the family farm was give to my younger brother behind my back, absolutely no provision for yours truly. It was crushing in every way. When I met with them to discuss it they had absolutely no remorse or empathy for something that was quite traumatic for me.

    Honestly, it’s really hard for me to know what to do on a day-to-day basis. I feel like I’m between a rock and a hard place with them. It’s like they are completely blind to who they are and how they are. Articles like this help me to know that I’m not alone and that’s quite a relief. Blessings to everyone reading this. You are not alone.

    Thanks again,


  4. By: jo Posted: 12th May

    have just found out that my father has died .. my mother dah poster in on fcbk and a friend saw the post two days later snd came to my house with husband and son to let me know,

    .. I am beside myself as to why they chose not to let me know before her died.

    I have a brother and a sister ,, and our family has been ‘controlled ‘ by mother who never ever really got on with ,, she moved away and used long distance writings to my psycitrists, my childrens school, the social services . my doctor. She would write to twll them I was msd . insane ,,
    my father sexually abused me as a child and some near missis duringmy marriage , but I always loved and forgave my parents ….
    now estranged for almost three years …. I find out After my father has because afriend notices my mothers post.

    I feel like Im making drama and I dont like to mkae drama, but am Stuck in my head ….. that surely someone could have just thought to tell me before he died….. Psychologically I was always closest to my dad .. and my emotions are so sad ….. I always hoped that I would be able to say good bye to him ,, just share just few moments .. he is my father after all …… and I feel I have caused his death by not just minimsing the sexual abuse,,…. I always wanted to mimimise it ,,, was more my mother who frightened me,,,,, not cos shes frightening, byt am too senstive to her ways ….. and its all just one big mess…… and am just straing into space really cos only ever loved them,, but it feels to me like my life’s been one big abuse of power …. and I only ever loved them both always .. x x why does it have come to this ? there is no gain in not letting me see my father before he died ? sorry to write so much but my grief is cascading through my whole life.
    thank you for reading

  5. By: Tundra Woman Posted: 17th March

    I would first verify this diagnosis was accurate before I made any decisions at this moment. It is not uncommon that some alleged major terminal health crisis (typically cancer) is strategically utilized to punish or otherwise coerce the recalcitrant family members to rally around someone’s faux “death bead.” This is the “You’ll be sorry when I’m dead” Guilt Technique. Of course it’s manipulative and childish-but that’s what they do. Please contact her providers directly for verification. If there is no Release for them to speak with you and she refuses to sign a Release so you can communicate directly with them, it would seem to undermine allegations of “one foot in the grave.”

    I also would reconsider my involvement with making arrangements to get her to appointments etc. Often they will intentionally miss appointments, stop taking meds etc. and bounce in and out of ERs as another Tool of Manipulation. I would seek out services through your county to provide transportation etc. for her. Using a caseworker would ensure a third objective party’s involvement and would offer a shield from some of her more onerous behavior. I’ve noted having someone outside the family often helps to “contain” their behavior.

    Finally, you make some very informed and astute observations about reaching out to her. On the one hand it seems you are concerned about doing the “right thing” and on the other, doing the reasonable thing based on your lifetime of experience with her. I can only tell you what I have experienced: People die the way they lived. If they spent their lives creating chaos, fostering nastiness and gossip, engaging in hurtful behavior etc. towards others, their death is not going to mitigate those behaviors. There is no Hollywood Death Bed(tm) fantasy ending for any of us and as much as they are convinced they’re special, they’ re not. Even death becomes another opportunity to demonstrate their unfailing nastiness, pettiness and greed. However, this may not even be the imminent crisis you’ve been lead to believe is taking place.

    Wishing you the very best. These are difficult decisions for sure and we don’t know how we’re going to feel regardless of what decision we make. However, historically no matter what either/or double bind we have confronted, we’ve always been made aware we chose “wrong.” Ultimately, this is about you, not her. I hope you will choose the best course of action for you: She’s demonstrated consistently throughout her life she never has and never will consider you.

  6. By: Susie Posted: 15th March

    My mother and I have an on and off relationship. We are currently off. I learned to set boundaries to protect myself from her deliberate mental abuse. I actually called my mother last week to wish her a happy 77th birthday. I received no call back. I also text my brother to make sure someone had checked in on my mother to make sure she had everything she needed prior to an up coming snowstorm. The last i spoke to my mother i offered to take her to her doctors appointments. ( Her friends and other family members had stopped taking her also due to her games and mental abuse. ) I was receiving phone calls from her heart doctors office advising she was missing appointments. So I did the “right” thing and offered to take her. The conversation didn’t end well and her last words to me were horrible. The last words she has heard from me was the happy birthday voice mail I left last week. Yesterday my sister called to tell me our mother has lung cancer and that I should call her as she only has months to live. I am torn. Even during an off time in our relationship I have still reached out to her with either an abusive or no response. So why knowing she is dying should I open myself up to the same abuse? What if she chooses to not return the call or hangs up when she hears my voice? I don’t know if I can handle that kind of rejection with her knowing this could be the last communication we have. It’s bad enough experiencing it on and off all through my life.

  7. By: Julie B Posted: 1st March

    Dear Darlene,
    This blog and all of these thoughtful comments came up when I googled, “when your estranged father is dying”.
    This post and all of the responses have been a real blessing to me this afternoon.
    Long story short, I’m estranged with my parents and siblings because I drew a clear boundary a year ago. My Mother and siblings are kind of a twisted co-dependent group. My Mother has always been the perfect victim, oftentimes pegging my siblings and I against each other. Someone was always on the “out”.
    And most often, I’ve been the scapegoat.
    My Father is the passive abuser. Usually was in the background watching tv or doing yard work, never really participated. Pretty much emotionally unavailable. He enabled my Mother as the Master Manipulator. She pulled all the strings.
    Recently, because I set boundaries, I’m the one on the “out” and am the unforgiving, hateful daughter.
    It has taken me a long time to get it. I finally have a voice and validity. As a people-pleaser, peacemaker, “yes girl” my whole life, no one ever respected me, heard me or understood me.
    Today, my sister (another master manipulator) texted my husband that our father was dying and that I need to see him or I might regret it.
    For the past couple of years, I’ve kept them at arm’s length. In a way, it’s like they are already dead to me. We have no relationship and there isn’t any reaching out in love to me. My father doesn’t even know my sister texted me. It’s not like he is calling me to come see him. And, my mother wouldn’t call me, she’s busy punishing me with silence.
    Its a sick and twisted web of drama. My husband and two young daughters are all so relieved and happy now that we’re away from it all. It’s like a continual dose of poison that makes you sad and depressed and helpless. We’re in the road to healing and it’s been so good.
    Thank you for this corner of safety. Thank you to all of you for sharing your stories and journey. It’s exactly what I needed to read today. I needed to be reminded of my journey to wholeness and that I am worthy!

  8. By: Wayne Posted: 27th January

    I was with each of my abusive parents when they died — the one thing in favor of that I will say is that seeing their dead, lifeless bodies in the casket and knowing they could never hurt me again was a good experience — but I absolutely believe every abused child has the right to make his or her own decision about whether or not to have a relationship with them. My father died almost 8 years ago, my mother 6 and a half years ago. Four months ago, a cat I had had for 8 and a half years died — and in those four months, I have shed far more tears over that beautiful, sweet, loving cat than I have for both my parents combined in all the years since their deaths.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 28th January

      Hi Wayne,
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
      I agree; everyone has a choice. Most of us didn’t know that though so it’s important to talk about this!
      My deepest condolences on the loss of your cat.
      Hugs, Darlene

  9. By: Tundra Woman Posted: 27th January

    Aiye, the “what ifs?” I so get that. I spent I can’t tell you how many decades looking for “reasons” that would somehow make sense, that would help me “understand” (absolve?) why she was the way she was and if I could understand then maybe I wouldn’t have NC’d or made the decisions I did. I was looking for intellectual “reasons” to asssuage my emotional pain. In all of that, I finally recognized a few realities: Would it have changed her behavior? No. Would it have made it OK? No. And frankly, in delving into various psychological theorists, I came to understand these are Theories, NOT Laws. Not like the hard sciences-physics, biology etc. but our “best guess.” So why am I, having survived abuse and neglect and despite all my research (and working with combat vets/neurobiology/neurochem) not able to posit or speculate having been the recipient of abuse/neglect have my observations and experiences viewed as just as valid as their’s? Oh yes, “objectivity.” Objectively, I was a child. Full stop.

    It takes tremendous courage to challenge never mind change the dynamics we were subject to as Littles and into our adult lives. Your insight and compassion are striking. However, I think it may leave out a very important variable: Michelle, you were the CHILD. The child we were never “allowed” to be. I have no idea what it means to have a safe home, to be a carefree child, to be a child, period. And my sense is neither do you. No matter how we try to prepare, there is something so final about death that no matter how long ago it has been metaphorically since they have “died” to us, their actual physical death stirs up many feelings in addition to the obvious such as the reality we will not have a “happy ending” to this relationship no matter how desperately (or unconsciously) we desire it.

    Alcoholism/Other Addictions/Mental Health etc. do not excuse their behavior towards their children. It takes concerted effort over years if not decades to drive a child and ultimately an adult to NC. It is the manifestation of complete loss of hope by that AC. It is the recognition something/someone is more important than we are, be it a substance or their insistence on being “right.” And as children, we believe somehow their problems regardless of their genesis are of our making. Where did the reinforcement for that erroneous belief come from anyway? Oh yes, the very people who insist on being “understood” rather than the other way around: They demand we enter the world of adults rather than the parents enter the world of their child. Nope. We are not equipped to do so but oh, how we try!

    Please know also their death brings our own mortality to the forefront of our consciousness. Prior to their death, we had the reality they and their generation stood between us and our own deaths. And the feeling becomes something along the lines of, “We’re up next…” The “buffer” our parents generation afforded us in terms of our own mortality is gone. So what Legacy do we want to leave to our own children? We are not well known Nobel Prize winners. We are not “famous for being famous.” 😉 We have not found a cure for cancer nor have we been “perfect.”

    Michelle, we have accomplished something damn near impossible: Not only did we survive, but we passed on to our own children the gift of unconditional love. It wasn’t easy. It was scary as hell. And as we stand back and watch them spread their wings and fly with the confidence we never had, with the joy and idealism, with the belief the world is indeed theirs to shape, we launch them with the knowledge we “didn’t do the best we could” but that we gave them the best we had-and that unconditional love is our Legacy.

    Please note: It didn’t cost a cent. It didn’t have anything to do with “not getting a pony for Christmas” or any other marterial goods. It had everything to do with knowing they were loved no matter what, that their innocence was preserved, that they were genuinely supported in all their endeavors and they were fine, just the they are/were.

    As were you.
    You and your DH have given your children this gift.
    There is nothing that could be more.

    • By: Michelle Posted: 28th January

      Hello Tundra,
      I have cherished your replies and your words have given me strength and comfort, I would really like to maintain contact with you and possibly share more thoughts and feelings. I have made an assumption that you live in a isolated wilderness, as you mentioned the animals and your name Tundra, I am also looking for my own wilderness (a piece of land) to call my own as I lived in a rural community in Spain for a year and it was the best experience in my life (apart from having my children) I would love to exchange experience’s with you, If you would prefer your privacy I truly understand and thank you for your support and inspiration, you have given me focus and I am truly thankful for that.
      Love Michelle xx

  10. By: Tundra Woman Posted: 24th January

    Michelle, It has been my observation there is a pattern of a Reach Back Bitch Slap from the grave that occurs consistently with abusive/neglectful “parents.” Their ongoing campaign of retribution (for what? For us “failing” at being a “child?!”) ensures their death affords their final opportunity to “get the last word” in a sadistic manner. I do not agree with the POV these (despicable) beings “don’t know what they’re doing” and in fact are very calculated in death just as they were in life. They continue to engage in the same pattern of nasty behavior that’s as premeditated, targeted and intentional as those while they still drew a breath. I NCd long before my biological “mother’s” physical death. She spent the ensuing decades in a Campaign of Retribution that was striking in both chronicity and severity. Confirmation of her death also resulted in many of the same feelings you have identified. Throughout my life even post NC she had always remained crouched in the periphery of my consciousness as the monster she was, ready and able to strike without warning or provocation. So why now? I thought I had waded through “all that” long before. Hmm.

    I never felt safe until she was dead: My fear of her never fully abated as long as she walked this earth despite being a middle aged “successful” woman. Abuse and neglect penetrate beyond skin, beyond bone, beyond consciousness right to the cellular level. I believe we need to feel physically safe before all the experiences and resulting feelings as a result of abuse and neglect can surface. Additionally, having our own families and seeing our own children as they progress through the various stages of Growth and Development also resurrect many memories as well. As I’ve aged and living remotely I’ve become increasingly aware wild animals do a much better job of parenting than we ever received.

    I’ve been present for a fair number of deaths now and I can tell you people absolutely die the way they lived: If they spent their lives destroying others, running rampant over the most vulnerable and innocent, relentlessly criticizing others etc.-particularly their own children-they will die the same way. I am so sorry you have been subject yet again to the sadistic antics of that woman. It’s still disconcerting to realize (as if you needed a reminder) of what a truly atrocious person she was-all the way to her grave.

    Michelle, you have accomplished the most difficult challenge we face as we navigate life in the AC world: You have stopped the Legacy of Abuse and Neglect with you. Through the decisions and actions you have taken with your own life and family you have refused to affirm her behavior by living as a decent human being, a loving wife and mother to your own family. I firmly believe there is neither a greater gift we can give our children, our grandchildren and future generations nor a more absolute rebuke of our own backgrounds than what you have accomplished. Regardless of their unconscionable behavior towards us, the only way in which we truly honor our parents is by living our own lives honorably. You are doing exactly that, not because she “deserves” such or not, but because of who you are as a human being and the choices you have and are continuing to make. I know you will continue to process all the feelings that inevitably arise with the death of a parent-that-wasn’t in the same manner in which you have negotiated every other life challenge you have encountered; with the same honesty, integrity and now with the unquestioned knowledge you have never “failed: You have been successful beyond what you can yet begin to imagine.

    You so remind me of the greatness of every day people. I deeply respect and admire you, Michelle. And I thank you for showing me today, sometimes there are heros where you least expect to find them.

    • By: Michelle Posted: 24th January

      I truly am thankful for your message Tundra, I have felt so alone with my feelings for along time… I needed to get it out it was eating me inside.
      I am not ashamed of what happened to me and know that I am a strong, loving and kind person, I always look for the good in everyone and everything and try to imagine who my mother would been if she hadn’t of started drinking? I’m always left with “what if?” Would she of cared..told me that she loved me?
      I know in the end that I made the right decision by not seeing her and she could of at any time come and seen me but she chose not to, My mother was the ultimate definition of selfish and only ever thought of her own needs and wants.
      I am truly grateful for my life and give thanks everyday for my new family that I have created and the beauty of this world… I wish love and happiness to all..you are amazing and thank you.
      I will get through this and come out stronger the other side… I always have done and nothing will stop me, I love my husband of 20 yrs and my two amazing daughter’s whose smiles lights up my life everyday…I look forward to being the perfect grandmother and living and dying with dignity and pride and surrounded by the ones I love.
      I send my love to you xx

  11. By: Lynn Posted: 17th January

    This is an excellent article. My lovely sister sent it to me as she said I could have written it. And yes, I could have, everything you said I feel. My sister and I are survivors in our 50s. Christmas 2015, we had another dismally hopeless experience of trying to be good daughters which resulted in my sis getting punched in the face and our ‘mother’ again lying to the police. She lies to the police, doctors, safeguarding teams (she physically and mentally abuses our dad who is protective of her), social services, they all know but do nothing. They are 85 and 89 years old.

    Me and my sis are very lucky to have each other and our loving families who we have protected from all this crap. After many heartfelt chats together, we decided that we’d had enough, and while we were worrying about them our own families were growing and we were in danger of not having the energy to enjoy them. And now we are free, totally free. We’ve lived with this all our lives. We have a younger sister and ‘mother’ said she is the only daughter she needs, we haven’t spoken for years. So much for playing happy families, not any more. They and all the family cronies and the neighbours who disempower and disrespect us can bugger off.

    Phew, your messages are great. No-one but us can understand what this is like. Disempowered, no voice, lied about, belittled, disrespected, hurt. No-one will understand when I don’t do any death bed reconciliations or go to funerals, that’s if anyone’s decent enough to let us know, which I doubt. And I don’t care.

    I wish each and every one of you the very best that life can bring.

    • By: Michelle Thomas Posted: 24th January

      Gli, I have just stumbled upon this website looking for answers to the way I feel..And whether what I am experiencing is normal to the situation as I have never experienced grief before?
      My situation is so much like the other posts as my mother died last March and I had not seen or spoken to her for 10 yrs. My mother was an abusive alcoholic and had been for as long as I can remember… I used to find empty bottles of vodka hidden in the oven at the age of 6 so I believe she must have been drinking heavily for a long time before to get to that stage. My father obviously knew about her drinking but he never tried to help her to stop… I think it was impossible as my mother was very stubborn and aggressive when she drank and would do as she wanted. When I was little I remember the violent fights they would have all in front of me I think it was because my mother refused to get a job and wanted to stay at home (drinking I suppose) my father also became abusive to me and my sister hitting me with a belt when I began soiling myself (I was 6) and I began getting bullied at school so I took money from the house to show off to try and impress, the teacher phoned my dad and he came to the school acting calm and took me home, he thought that he got all the money back but then counted the money and realised that there was still some missing…. I had posted it to the red cross that morning (I had no idea of the value of money) once I told him he beat me.. I remember my mother wasn’t there at the time, but do remember he coming into my room what seemed like hours later and the look of shock and horror on her face because my little body was covered in hand marks. All I remember was my dad’s pityful face and him crying… My parents relationship broke down not much after that a couple of years I think, I was eight when I remember them being separated, me and my mother and sister then moved in with my grandfather, my mother’s dad. It was then that my the sexual abuse began, my mother used to go out drinking and my grandfather then sexually abused me and my sister, I was also being sexually abused by my school friends dad a few doors down from my grandfather at the same time. I never told my mother or my father at the time. I had just turned 9 when my mother got a house from the council and we moved from my grandfather’s house, my mum and dad got back together a all seemed fine (my mum was still drinking though) until all hell broke loose..When my sister who was 13 went to school one day and never came back…And the police turned up at our home and arrested my father and took him away in hand cuffs. My sister had told her friend at school that my father had been sexually abusing her, I already knew that it was true… I knew from the age of 6 when on one occasion one summer I had left my sister sitting in front of the TV watching Saturday kids television, my mum was out and my father at work, my sister was 9, I had gone next door to play in my friends paddling pool and had worn my best dress (I was not supposed to) obviously I got soaked and came back to get charged and saw my father’s van out front… I panicked because I was wearing my best dress so sneaked around back and tried to creep into my bedroom without being seen, but when I was heading into my bedroom I heard noises coming from my parents room (which is opposite my bedroom..I slowly creeped up to the door (it was slightly ajar) and peeped through the slit in door and I knew from that moment..even at that young age what was taking place, suddenly there was movement and I panicked and ran into my bedroom scared stiff! that my father saw me but he just came into my bedroom and i stuttered “I.im just getting changed I got wet” and he said ok and walked out.. I was confused as he saw that I was in my best dress and said nothing.. I know now that he was obviously preoccupied with what had just gone on.
      When my father was arrested my sister went into care as my mother did not believe her and I was too scared to say anything about what I had seen, my mother wallowed in self pity and drank heavily..And became a monster, constantly mentally abusing me by shouting and saying awful things to me, screaming in my face, and saying that I was just like my dad, a few weeks later a social worker came to our home and spoke with my mother and then me my sister had confessed all..even about my grandfather and my mother had a meltdown and screaming why I hadn’t told her? I was put through a trial and he pleaded guilty and got 6 mths, I went to trial for my friends dad and he got a warning because there was not enough evidence, even though me and my cousin’s statements matched, and we had not seen or spoken to one another for over 2 yrs, she also was abused at the same time as me we were together on one occasion. She also did not testify, she was too scared(I understand that) I had to do it on my own.
      This was probably the lowest time in my life.. I was 11..After a few months went by my mother started an affair with the nextdoor neighbour (who had a wife and three kids, our house was a semi detached) and began having loud aggressive sex in our house with me inside. I on one occasion heard them having sex and the door was open to their room.. I being curious had a look and my mother saw me.. she jumped up like a raging bull and I ran and hid under my bed..My mother stomped around screaming my name at the top of her voice…She even went outside!, At this point under my bed I wanted to die.. Lying there in the dark, I really wanted my life to end.. I saw a pair of scissors on the side in my room and leaned out to grab them.. I took them to my wrists but as I did..A sense of calm came over me.. Nothing like have ever experienced before and I stopped.. I don’t know what it was but something told me that everything was going to be ok..and to stop… I am not religious and have no faith… I don’t know if it was just my inner self talking sense into me. So I stopped and lay there until dark, obviously I had to come out and did, I got into bed and went to sleep, the next morning my mother had calmed down, it was the neighbour who had talked her down.
      Not long after this incident we had all our windows smashed in (double glazed) because of the affair we were moved.
      When I turned 12 I began skipping school because of bullying, my mother continued drinking and being abusive and I decided that I had to get away from her, she made me so unhappy..So I started running away… I ran away and was brought back. My mother soon met another man from Liverpool UK and decided to move us there to be closer to him. I hated Liverpool to begin with..I had no friends, no family..Just her and I began to run away again.. only to be found brought back again, on this occasion I was brought back by a social worker quite late (around 8:30pm) I was 13 and my sister was home (she returned home when she was 15, my father was convicted and pleaded not guilty he got found guilty and was sentenced to 7yrs) my sister told me that my mother was out drinking, so my sister and I eventually went to bed. I heard my mother return, it was very late (maybe early in the morning) she came up the stairs opened our bedroom door ( I pretended that I was asleep) she then went back downstairs (I breathed a sigh of relief) then I heard footsteps coming up the stairs again…she opened our door an threw a bucket of freezing cold water over me! and closed the door. I broke down crying and my sister helped me and tried to dry me off and let me sleep in her bed with her.. Shortly after I run away again..And when I was found again she told the social services that she didn’t want me back so I was put into a children’s home at 13. I was terrified.. and I was repeatedly beaten up and had my belongings stolen by the girls there, but anything was better than being with my mother. I eventually found y place at the children’s home and the beatings stopped, I was there until I was 16, as soon as I turned 16 I left and moved in with my sister who was 18 and had her own apartment by then (my sister and I also found out when she was 13 that we were not full sisters only half, my dad was not her dad even though my dad signed her birth certificate!) I eventually found a job and met my partner Stephen at 17 he was 33 we are still together and have two beautiful daughters. I had not spoken or seen my mother since my second daughter was born 2005 I did let her see my baby, but she, began been abusive to my eldest who was 5 at the time calling her a thief after my mother gave her some shells and locked her outside screaming when she went to play in her garden.. I knew I couldn’t subject my family to her vile talk and actions she traumatized me enough I couldn’t let her do it to my kids as well so a cut all contact with her. I focused on bringing up my kids in loving safe environment with two loving parents.
      I got a email out of the blue from my father who I also have not spoken to for many…many years telling me that my mother passed away, on the couch she had been sleeping and drinking on for years, apparently she had been dead for a while before my sister visited and couldn’t get an answer. I at first was what seemed uneffected and distant and didn’t know how I felt… Didn’t know how to feel? I did not attend the funeral as I had nothing good to contribute, she had been dead for 10 months now and I find myself dwelling on all sorts of different emotions from anger to hatred to crying and self pity. My mother never once visited me in the children’s home and has always knew where I lived.
      When she was alive my sister contacted me to say she was ill and asked my mother if she wanted to see me she said no… I know that that comment was my mother’s sick and twisted way to get back at me..She always loved seeing me suffer..And she’s still doing it beyond the grave!

      • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 28th January

        Hi Michelle,
        Welcome to EFB and thank you for sharing. I hope you will read more ~ this website is about putting a stop to the power they have over us and about taking our lives back.
        Hugs, Darlene

        • By: Michelle Posted: 28th January

          Hello Darlene, thank you for your message of support, I have been so glad to of found this website, I have been so inspired by the posts and messages of support, and I know now that I am not alone in what I am feeling and experiencing… I have been dwelling in a place of constant unending changes of emotions and did not know what I should be feeling or whether I should of done things differently…Anger..with myself for feeling sadness… I hate crying as I have shed too many years for that woman, I am constantly fighting with myself and telling myself to stop! I feel tormented by reoccurring memories from the past… things that I have not thought about for years.. things that she said and did. I keep trying to forgive myself for not making my peace with her… but then I argue with myself that she never ever made any effort so why the hell should I? Why does she deserve forgiveness and acceptance from me after everything that she put me through, what possible difference would it of made..It would never change the past and she would of never of said sorry to me…It would of been me apologizing…as was always weak when it came to confrontation with her. (learned behaviour from childhood) Ever since I was 10-11yrs old I was trying to get away from her and always felt at peace when she was not around. I even hated the expression on her face when she was drunk as she looked evil… you could see the aggression just stewing in her eyes…so frightening, I always felt she had control over me.. when I was 12 I had beautiful long hair that I loved (but didn’t brush that well) I was due for my first high school photo and the previous day before school I was attempting to brush my hair and my mother came into the room and grabbed the brush and started aggressively brushing my hair in a temper…I started to cry and scream in pain..So she stopped and said “if you can’t take care of it you can’t keep it!” So she got a pair of scissors and cut it short (really short..Boy short) I cried for what seemed like forever…I still have strong memories of being in the bath and reaching out for my hair under the water and realising that it was not there anymore…and curling up into a ball and crying..In my life today I find myself a control freak I always have to be in control over what happens such as rollercoasters, in cars, my job..with people (I don’t like being told what to do when I am doing something) I am never confrontational with anyone I just keep it all inside.(swallow it down, also a learnt defensive behaviour) I have never shared my experiences with anyone but my partner and he finds it extremely difficult to hear and understand, he doesn’t know how to react or to console me and his first emotion is anger, and I decided that it was better not to talk to him about it as he can’t deal with it and I understand that. This is my past and I know that I am doing ok and have found this site really helpful in dealing with my mixed emotions.
          Thank you x

  12. By: Brenda Posted: 5th December

    Hi Louise so sorry to read your painful reality … as I am searching the web for answers to my own painful experience. Please excuse my language problems – English is not my home mother tongue! You are not alone, parents can ruine relationships and make you feel guilty at the same time! I wish you so much strength. I wonder what I should do in my circumstances reading your remarks! Its heartbreaking!

    My mom 87 years of age, time is also very short. But it could be the same for anyone as we do not know? I am experiencing the pain of a mother that did’nt acknowledge me as a child, while acknowledging my 2 sisters and brother. I could not understand when I was a child certain things. My sister got all the nice presents as a child, a bicycle, a 3-wheel trike, and I had to share. She was younger than me. When I got to High School my grandmother who never interfered with us as children, took me to her bedroom to give me her 9 carate gold wrist watch in a little box. I did not know she had cancer and only found out a few months later. She told me : “I want to give this (her watch) to me, before it lands up in the wrong hands one day … and they make me so cross”. I did not ask her what she meant by that – and only thanked her. I only realised when I got bigger when I gave her words a second thought and realised my grandmothers words was related to the behaviour of my parents, more accurately, my mom. I felt so good and know that my grandma really loved me. I was 13 years old at the time. My grandma died 5 months later of cancer. I know that a gold diamond ring of my grandma was stipulated for my inheritance one day as well. I think because my grandma might told my mom that I should get it as the eldest grand daughter. Its not something I have earn or have to work or pay for, it is suppose to come my way because of LOVE, but I wonder if I will ever be acknowledge in my Mom’s Will in future as she has so much grief about me although I tried hard in my circumstances to assist her.

    One of her friends told her that I am her best child between all, in stead she rejects me by not acknowledging all the little things I tried to do for her and always tells me how good my sisters are and shows so much exitement when my brother and sister-in-law is around. They are all in a better position than me, financially and health wise. I was battling financially with 3 children, who all three graduated at University. They spend altogether 18 years at University. With my low income I made indepth plans to financially support them to every cent I had. My husband was retrenched due to Departmental structures that fell away when my children where small. I fell behind in a new era where computers came in place while seeing to the upbringing at home of the children in the early years of their age and could not get a job instantly. I went into selling property and had to excel. My husband took his severance package and we moved down to another City where more jobs were available. At the age of 45 he battled to get a job because of restrictions in the Country to appoint certain people. I managed to eventually get a good job at a University while teaching myself computor skills, by investing into a Computor from my husbands severance package. I walked into a position that a lot of girls would like to have, working years at this place already and could not understand why I was appointed and not them. I had to be superb to gain the best in every way. My husband, an exellent worker and personal qualities eventually got into a position he applied for – starting at a very low income but eventually earning more and excelling in his job! Nevertheless, we fell behind with a lot and it was time to build the future of us and the children, especially education wise for the children …to avoid them from suffering one day too!
    We manage to assist our children through difficult years to pass all three with distinction in their final years at school (matric). They manage to obtain bursaries to study at Varsity, although it was not enough to cover all expense. Before my children graduated, my mother moved to an old age home – her money was not well invested and she followed only the my sisters and brother’s advice how to invest her money. I had a qood suggestion for her to invest in property from which she could obtain rental income and the growth in value that follows afterwards. My idea did not count. Soon the interest on her fixed investment fell and the cost of her rent and expenses rose at the same time gradually. The time soon arose for a call to contribute to my mothers financial well being. It came at a time 10 years ago that I became suddenly ill and medically disabled to work. I got acute rhumatoid arthuritis and was in a wheel chair for months. I could not get up from a chair, walk, open taps, brush my teeth, lift my arms, get my feet off the bed. I was alone during the day at home with no-one to assist. My mom, 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles) away from me and healthy at that stage was not making herself available to even come and make me a cup of tea during the day. My husband at huge work pressure and with demanding deadlines had to come from work to assist me to go to the toilet and made tea for me. I had to quite my job within 24 hours and has never worked since that day. I spend thousands on medical bills and did not have a medical aid. I had to borrow money for it on my Bond and credit cards and personal loans. I never worked again and officially got a small amount out from my procurement fund at my employer. I nevertheless through this period supported my mom monthly with food and stuff she needed – amounting up to now over R25000 within the 10 year period. I was the one looking after her emotional well-being (she would have rotted in her room) and her health mainly, sensing her needs for admission to hospitals quickly without hesitation etc., although I could not do the more financially; I wanted to dearly. Nearly every year I was spoiling my mom with cake including the family and friends, that I made myself for her birthdays, buying her flowers and taking her out on her special day. I had a home industry business once and bake very well. Although struggling financially my husband and I also took my mom a lot out the sea (45km away in total 90kms there and back each time) on a Sunday afternoon, at least once or twice a month, inviting her over for lunch and taking her out for a coffee or breakfast regulary. A lot of times my daughter also invited her for a breakfast at a popular place with exquisite sceneries (expensive wine farms and restaurants). My daughter also assisted her with nice goodies and gifts and local magazines periodically to assist us. My mom is fond of my daughter and does acknowledge her and praise her, but now me if I do something good. She always tell my husband also he does a lot for her, but it is actually coming from me, as I suggested it and asked him to do certain things for her, as I cant perform physically well because of my illness. My sister and brother did not spend much time and attention in spoiling my mom personally, and their primary interest was to spend all their private time making money at local markets, selling stuff – up and above their fixed jobs.

    I could not contribute as much as my healthy and wealthy sisters and brother who have each two or three incomes. They most probably spend twice more towards my mother’s finances.

    Although struggling in health and finances, my children made my mom the proudest and they are the most beautiful respectful, loving and caring children today.

    I always have to hear how good my sisters and brother is form my Mom. I never receive any credit although my contribution of necessities, time and money that I had spend on her … was actually financially unaffordable for me – I was actually harming my financials to assist her, but because I felt also responsible, I did it and tried to be loving child to her.

    The past weekend my mom was very ill and I phoned my brother and sisters to tell them how critically ill she was. My mom felt her time was coming closer to go and thanked my one sister over the phone in another City for all she did for her. She pressed the hand of my one sister at her bed, while she was too tired to speak. I put my hands around my mom and kept her in my arm for a while frequently touching her, something my other sisters does not do. She did not show any emotion and did not give me a recognition or even pressed my hand. She only waved her hand with large strikes at me when I left the room as never before as if was giving me a Good Bye for ever. Me and my husband saved her life several times by taking decisions to take her to hospitals in the past. If it was not for me she would have been gone 8 years ago already.

    I am nothing, and according to my Mom, I did nothing for her! My mom tells my sisters how great they are and that she is not happy with the “nothing” that I have done for her. My moms sometimes tells us that we are the only children inviting her over for a braai – she plays the children off against each other, but I am mostly harmed by my moms behaviour, as I do not carry information over and keep everything to myself. My younger sisters assist her in her nasty behaviour towards me and my one sister repeated to all of us in each other’s presence, a little while ago what my mother said that she did her best for us when we needed her as a Mom but some of us (i.e. actually me! now do nothing for her). In stead of looking things in the right perspective – my sisters especially, support her. My family gain my Mothers love and attention by complaining about me and how tired they are of all the work they are doing. I who are too stupid to complain, and accept life as it comes, never have a problem …??? (according to them), They are ALL so unsympathetic towards my life and health.
    They enjoy her credibility and praise while looking down on me. It looks lie my mother only have 3 children and not 4.

    I feel the need to visit my mom now more and spend – but It hurts the way she treats me very much. Although life was extremely difficult, I manage to overcome all with the support of my dear husband. My husband also said I have no reason to feel quilty as he knows how ill I was and is with my uncureable auto-imune disease.

    My children also well-educated (2 graduated Mechanical and Electrical/Electronic Engineers and my daughter, a Dietitian), are now the envy of the family and the same nature is repeating among the cousins, as the aunties and uncle set the example.

    All the family are invited to huge Christmas dinner with hopefully my Mom with us (?) this Christmas which will be a fake one as the spirit among all towards us, is fake – although I told them I just want everyone to be happy at Christmas and fair.

  13. By: Kris Posted: 30th November

    Hi Jenn A,

    I am sorry for your loss and I can only imagine how painful this whole thing is for you but I want you to know that you didn’t do anything wrong here. If your mother would have treated you like you deserved to be treated you would have answered that phone and because she didn’t you didn’t. I hope that in time you will be able to see this truth and in turn see that she is the one who should have asked for YOUR forgiveness, not the other way around.

    Peace to you,

  14. By: Jenn A Posted: 26th November

    My mom died Thursday, on Thanksgiving. I hadn’t spoken to her in a year and a half. She was a very narcissistic mother, and my father enabled her. She called my the Sunday before and I didn’t answer, on purpose. I actually wish I’d have answered the phone. I even deleted her voicemail, so I can never hear her voice again. I was already in the process of trying to mourn the mother I never had , but I think I always thought one day she’d tell me she’d lovedie me. I am certain she called because she was dying, and my gut told me to call her back, but my head said she was probably alone on Thanksgiving. I was wrong and I get to spend the rest of my life with that decision. My family wants nothing to do with me and they think I was never abused, etc. etc.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 30th November

      Hi Jenn A
      Sorry to hear about your mom passing before the conversation you were hoping for. I hope that in time you will realize that the reason you didn’t answer the phone had far more to do with her; there was a reason that you didn’t answer the phone. I am sorry that you are alone and so discounted by your family. I am glad you are here; you are not alone here. Thanks for sharing,
      Hugs, Darlene

  15. By: William Posted: 2nd September

    Standing up to abusers, as one reader puts it, is terrifying at first but your self confidence does go up. I’m beginning to think I’m not helpless and dependent on others validation and approval like I have been for 32 years. I’ve used some very choice words to tell my cousin’s and uncle’s how I really feel over email and facebook IM. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind if my family got to see how much of a potty mouth I’ve been. This has been eating at me for too long. They haven’t responded back yet so I have to find a way to get them on the phone. If my cousin does respond it probably means that he cares. Whatever happens I’m sure I’ll get to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly in return. I do feel alot calmer these days since expressing myself.

  16. By: Davina Posted: 28th August

    My dad was a sociopath–the most awful person I have ever known. When he died a few years ago I felt nothing.

    My mother is a narcissist and I’ve been no contact with her for about 16 years. Because she’s 90 and I’ve been going through a transition I recently considered reconciling as I could use some family in my life.

    Thank goodness I first re-read this column and its 500+ comments because it reminded what I went through with them and that going back would only cause me more damage. These cruel people do not change and that fact can fade in my memory with time and distance.

    Thank you for telling your stories–they yank at my heart. I hope each of you are safe and feeling better now.

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